Global scale models of the mantle flow field predicted by synthetic tomography models

A. L. Bull, A. K. McNamara, T. W. Becker, J. Ritsema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Using a multi-disciplinary technique incorporating the heterogeneous resolution of seismic tomography, geodynamical models of mantle convection, and relationships derived from mineral physics, we investigate the method of using seismic observations to derive global-scale 3D models of the mantle flow field. We investigate the influence that both the resolution of the seismic model and the relationship used to interpret wavespeed anomalies in terms of density perturbations have on the calculated flow field. We create a synthetic seismic tomography model from a 3D spherical whole mantle geodynamic convection model and compare present-day global mantle flow fields from the original convection model and from a geodynamical model which uses the buoyancy field of the synthetic tomography model as an initial condition. We find that, to first order, the global velocity field predicted by the synthetic seismic model correlates well with the flow field from the original convection model throughout most of the mantle. However, in regions where the resolving power of the seismic model is low, agreement between the models is reduced. We also note that the flow field from the synthetic seismic model is relatively independent of the density-velocity scaling ratio used.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalPhysics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Global flow
  • Isochemical
  • Mantle convection
  • Resolution matrix
  • Seismic tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Global scale models of the mantle flow field predicted by synthetic tomography models'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this